There's nothing more important to veteran British band Judas Priest than what their frontman, Rob Halford, calls the "heavy-metal spirit".
The 60-year-old, along with guitarists Glenn Tipton, 64, and Richie Faulkner, 32, bassist Ian Hill, 51, and drummer Scott Travis, 50, will be playing Priest's long-awaited maiden Singapore gig on Monday.
Formed in 1969, Priest - considered pioneers of the scene and often cited as influences by a slew of groups including Slayer and Lamb of God (who are opening for Priest) - have sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
Their hits include Breaking The Law (from their seminal 1980 record British Steel) and Painkiller (from the 1990 album of the same name).
The band will be here for their Epitaph Tour, which has been billed as their last hurrah, though Halford said they will continue to make albums.
"All we live and breathe for is the great experience of Judas Priest," said the affable Halford, who left the band in 1991 to pursue a solo career but rejoined in 2003. my paper caught up with him to ask about that "metal spirit" and keeping it alive and kickin'.
What can we expect from the show, considering it is part of the band's farewell world tour?
We'll be bringing the whole production, including the (Harley Davidson) bike, the costume, the lasers, the flames - all the things that Judas Priest have been famous for over 40 years.
The theatrical part is important to us, the music equally so. It's just a very visual, exciting, emotional roller-coaster ride.
Why stop touring?
The music is immortal but our bodies are not (laughs). We're just trying to think of a way to preserve the life of Priest physically, and we think that by cutting back a little bit, we can give ourselves a longer life.
What is the 'metal spirit' to you?
These days, we look at the audience and there are people from our generation. But there are also heavy-metal kids, barely teenagers, just banging their heads to (songs like) Living After Midnight and just having a good time together.
It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, whether you have hair or no hair, like me (laughs). It doesn't matter if you're fat or thin, or good- looking or not-so-good-looking. If you have the spirit, you're in for a good time.
What's the best and worst thing about being Rob Halford? (He laughs.) The best thing for me is being in the best heavy-metal band in the world. The worst thing is that I never get enough sleep.
When I come off a tour, I just lie in my bed for a week. But I've always been a rock 'n' roll gypsy. I'm a 16-year-old metalhead stuck in a 60-year-old man's body.
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